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Start/Bench List: Week 11
John Tuvey
Updated: November 18, 2011
NYJ at DEN TBB at GBP SEA at STL PHI at NYG Start/Bench List by Position
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Start/Bench Codes (SBC)
S1: Start 'em Tier One (Stud / Great matchup) U: Upside player (Possible sleeper)
S2: Start 'em Tier Two (Solid matchup) X: Unclear situation / Could go either way
S3: Start 'em Tier Three (Borderline / Barely) B: Bench 'em (Bad Matchup / Too much risk)
Carolina at Detroit Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments

Cam Newton

S2 The Lions just saw Tim Tebow and held him to 172 and 1 throwing and 63 rushing. Since Cam is a better passer you can tick those numbers up, and add a rushing score as he's called his own number in every road game this season. That beefs up an otherwise pedestrian stat line and makes Newton a solid fantasy play once again.

Jonathan Stewart

S3 Stew has the best line on 12-15 carries plus some work in the passing game, but he's still looking at maybe 75 yards from scrimmage and an outside shot at a touchdown against a pretty good run defense. He's a fringe starter at best, and you can likely do better.

DeAngelo Williams

B Williams has been pushed far enough into the background that it's about time for him to bust a beautiful long run that reminds us why Carolina paid him the big money this offseason. Unfortunately, given the current distribution of workload he'll only have about eight chances to do that this week; that's too much risk for the reward.
WR Steve Smith S3

Plenty of mid-tier games (50-80 yards) by wideouts against Detroit, but you have to go back to Week 4 to find a 100-yard game allowed. Smith could wipe that out in a hurry, but this is shaping up as one of his tweener games where he'll need to shake free for a touchdown to truly help your fantasy lineup.

WR Legedu Naanee
Brandon LaFell

Naanee tends to see more targets, LaFell seems to do more with the few he gets... and neither does much for fantasy purposes.

TE Greg Olsen

Jeremy Shockey is still in the picture, but Olsen is pushing him a little further out of the frame each week. The Lions have given up decent yardage or a touchdown to every team that actually throws to their tight end; more than four targets to the position yields a touchdown and/or at least 60 yards. Carolina targets their tight ends about a dozen times a game; does that mean three times those numbers for Olsen and Shockey, with Olsen getting the largest share? Wouldn't be that big a shock.

DT Panthers B The three return TDs Detroit allowed last week weren't the norm; Devin Hester doesn't wear Carolina blue.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matthew Stafford S2

Carolina hasn't allowed multiple passing scores in a game since Week 5; of course, they haven't exactly been facing A-list quarterbacks since then. Stafford is at least on the B+ list, and while he's been held to one score in two of his last three and is playing through a fractured finger the Lions don't have a ground game so he'll have to carry the offense again.

RB Maurice Morris

Feature backs have crushed the Panthers; it's a shame the Lions don't have one. Morris is in line to get most of the carries and he's definitely usable against a defense that's allowed 481 RB rushing yards and 6 RB TDs in three road games, but don't be surprised if Kevin Smith and maybe even Keiland Williams horn in on his action.

WR Calvin Johnson S1

Carolina hasn't given up much to wideouts, in part because everybody else has run on them. The Lions don't play that way, and Megatron is unbenchable anyway.

WR Nate Burleson


Where the matchup does come into play is with Detroit's secondary targets. The Panthers have allowed the second-fewest completions to wideouts and the fifth-fewest fantasy points to the position, so after Megatron takes his share there won't be much left.

TE Brandon Pettigrew

Detroit has a TE TD in four of their last five games; unfortunately for Pettigrew, despite being the more-targeted tight end it's Tony Scheffler who has the last two scores. It's not a tough matchup, but with a share of his stats shaved off by a teammate Pettigrew slips to borderline starter status.

DT Lions S2 Carolina has surrendered four return TDs already this season; Detroit has the defensive pressure and team speed to create plenty of opportunities for another one this week.
Jacksonville at Cleveland Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Blaine Gabbert B

Gabbert's best fantasy game thus far equates roughly to an average Alex Smith or Tarvaris Jackson game. Yes, it's been that bad. An underrated Cleveland pass defense isn't the likely venue for any sort of Gabbert awakening.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew S1

The Browns have allowed four 100-yard rushers in the last three games. Jones-Drew has two 100-yard outings in his last three and will comprise the bulk of the Jacksonville offense.


Jason Hill
Mike Thomas

B Jacksonville is experimenting with receivers; last week Jarret Dillard scored and Chastin West was the most targeted. Up until that point Hill and Thomas had been the Jags' regulars; now you can't make a case for any of them coming near your fantasy lineup.

Marcedes Lewis

B The Browns haven't allowed a TE TD in more than a month; Lewis hasn't scored one since last year.
DT Jaguars S2

Cleveland is averaging 10 points a game over the past month; it's unlikely they'll break out against a Jacksonville D that's held two of its past three foes to single digits. If your league's scoring system takes points allowed into account, "vs. Cleveland" is always a solid play.

Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Colt McCoy B

It's been more than a month since McCoy threw for multiple touchdowns and longer since he topped 250 yards--and roughly the same time frame since Jacksonville allowed such benchmarks. You would only start McCoy with a favorable matchup; this isn't one.

RB Chris Ogbonnaya S3

Silent G busted off the longest run by a Brown this season (32 yards) en route to 19-90 rushing and another 2-19 receiving last week. It's a tougher matchup than last week, but if Donald Brown can hammer out 52 yards against the Jags Ogbonnaya should at least give you something worthy of a flex or RB2 spot in larger PPR leagues.

RB Montario Hardesty B

Hardesty got in a little practice this week and is officially considered a game-time decision. He's not exactly an iron man, so best err on the side of caution and keep him on the bench.

WR Greg Little B

Not since Kenny Britt turned a couple broken plays into a 136-yard afternoon back in Week 1 have the Jaguars allowed a 100-yard receiver. Little continues to be the Browns' most targeted wideout, but that has yet to translate into a big fantasy day. This isn't likely to be the week.

WR Josh Cribbs B

Even with extra work out of the wildcat Cribbs wasn't able to put together much of a fantasy resume. He still owns the two most recent WR TDs for the Browns, but 10-138-2 over a three-game span hardly inspires the confidence to plug Cribbs into a fantasy lineup.

TE Ben Watson S3

Few teams throw at their tight ends as frequently as the Browns, and only two teams have allowed more fantasy points to the position than Jacksonville. That right there is called a favorable matchup play, and if you're without Jimmy Graham or Owen Daniels this week it's a quality bye-week band-aid.

DT Browns S3 The Jags are no offensive juggernaut, either; they haven't topped 20 points all year and are averaging less than 13 points per game. This will be a pitcher's duel.

Cincinnati at Baltimore

Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Andy Dalton S3

Dalton wasn't bad in his first big-boy test, extending his streak of multiple touchdown games to three in the loss to Pittsburgh. The Ravens have yet to allow more than one TD toss in a game this season so the task becomes even tougher, but since Cedric Benson is rarely a road warrior Dalton will have to pick up the offensive slack this week.

RB Cedric Benson B

The Ravens have proven to be mortal against the run, surrendering touchdowns in three straight weeks. However, Benson's road MO is similar to his home numbers--20 carries, 70 yards--with the distinct lack of a score; he hasn't seen a road end zone since Week 1 in Cleveland. You should be able to do better this week.

WR A.J. Green


Green's hyperextended knee cost him a full week of practice, and he's listed as doubtful. Make plans for another starter here.

WR Jerome Simpson


The Ravens certainly know who Simpson is after he took them for 12-123-1 in last year's regular season finale. He will likely be forced to play a more prominent role in the Cincy offense sans Green, but even if A.J. plays Simpson is worth a look against a defense that has tended to cede touchdowns to WR2s and yardage to WR1s.

TE Jermaine Gresham S3 Baltimore hasn't allowed a TE TD since Week 15 of last season, but few teams lean on the position as heavily as the Bengals. With Green limited Gresham becomes an even more vital target for Dalton; at minimum he's worth a look in TE-mandatory PPR leagues.
DT Bengals B Cincy's defense is good, but this matchup does not play in their favor. For starters it's in Baltimore, where the Ravens have scored at least 29 points in every game. You shouldn't have much difficulty finding a more favorable matchup.
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Joe Flacco S3

The Bengals have allowed only one multiple TD game in the past two months; Flacco hasn't had one since Week 3. He's had three 300-yard games in that span, however, including his last two at home so he's not completely benchable. You should, however, explore other options.

RB Ray Rice S2

Rice is a significantly better play at home this year: six of his eight TDs have come in Baltimore, and he's averaging 135 yards from scrimmage at home--36 yards more per game than on road trips. The Bengals are stout against the run but not impenetrable; they've allowed eight RB rushing scores, and their two biggest yardage games have come on the road. You wouldn't bench Rice, and the Bengals' road woes should have you feeling pretty good about the matchup.

WR Anquan Boldin


Like Rice, Boldin is better in Baltimore. He's scored or topped 100 yards in every home game except the one where Revis Island came to town, and as the Ravens' most targeted wideout he's either scored or reached triple-digit yardage in four of his last five overall.


Torrey Smith

S3 Smith is approaching Boldin in targets as the Ravens are taking deep shots to stretch the defense. All it takes is one to hit and Smith has a big stat day, so despite the tougher matchup he warrants consideration in larger leagues.

Ed Dickson

S3 Dickson blew up the Seahawks last week with 10-79-2 on 14 targets, but it's unlikely the Ravens throw 50 times again this week. He's still sharing the role with Dennis Pitta (who had 4-49 on seven targets last week), and the recent MO against Cincy has been about 6-50 for Baltimore tight ends. Dickson is still the favorite for the larger share and gets a starting nod based on the upside demonstrated last week.
DT Ravens S2 These are no longer the Bungles, but it's still a rookie quarterback making his first visit to Ray Ray's house, with Ed Reed lurking in centerfield. Even if Lewis doesn't play due to his toe injury, maybe he can still make his pregame entrance dance just to scare the crud out of Dalton.
Seattle at St. Louis Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tarvaris Jackson S3 TJax hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since Week 5 and multiple scores in the same game since the week before. The Rams, despite being down at least three regular cornerbacks since the start of the season, have surrendered just two passing scores over their past three games. Pencil Jackson in for adequate numbers and an end to that scoreless streak, but don't ask for too much more.
RB Marshawn Lynch S2

Lynch has posted back-to-back 100-yard games--both with touchdowns--against significantly tougher opponents. The Rams have played better against the run since getting sliced and diced be DeMarco Murray, but signs still point towards another strong showing for Lynch this wek.


Sidney Rice
Doug Baldwin

S3 Both Rice and Baldwin are working their way back from concussions, but both are expected to play Sunday in St. Louis. The duo is tied for the team lead in catches, and both are worthy of a start against a Rams secondary that's allowed six different WRs to either score or top 50 yards in the last three games.
DT Seahawks S3 The Rams have topped 16 points just once all season, and Seattle has been making some key special teams plays that could turn a bounce or two their way as well.
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Sam Bradford B

Bradford is still searching for his first multiple touchdown game of the season. A Seattle secondary that's allowed three multi-TD games in their last five outings might accommodate him, but there's not nearly enough upside to offset the risk.

RB Steven Jackson S2

The Rams are feeding Jackson--81 carries for 417 yards over the past three games. Seattle's run D has been solid but they've been more susceptible away from home so don't expect the Rams to ease up with the SJax sledgehammer. He's averaged triple-digit combo yardage against the Seahawks over the past three seasons; he might get that on one side of the ledger this week.


Brandon Lloyd


Lloyd has owned the WR1 role since being acquired from Denver; he's the only member of the Rams' passing game that's worthy of fantasy consideration.

DT Rams B You could get the Seattle offense that laid a three-point egg in Cleveland in Week 7--or the one that blew up the Giants for 36 points in Week 5. The Rams don't offer enough playmaking on the defensive side to warrant taking that sort of fantasy risk.
Arizona at San Francisco Back to top
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB John Skelton S3

Skelton's 315 and 3 in Philly was a stunner, but it came primarily because he followed the cardinal rule of backup quarterbacks: find your stud receiver and throw to him as much as possible. The Niners have allowed four straight foes to throw for at least 240 yards, so Skelton's run may continue. He did throw a touchdown against San Francisco last year, so it's not virgin territory for him.

RB Chris Wells
S3 Wells has one good game and three dogs against the Niners, including 5-16 and 5-13 "efforts" last season. The Niners have yet to allow a RB rushing score or an opposing back to top 65 yards; you're probably used to getting 65 and no score from Wells, so if he's been in your lineup you may as well keep trotting him out there.
WR Larry Fitzgerald

The Niners have allowed a WR TD in four straight games, and with Fitzgerald so heavily targeted--and coming off an 11-125-1 outing the last time he faced the 49ers--he's a solid bet to continue that trend.

WR Early Doucet


Last week Fitz saw as many targets as the rest of Arizona's wide receivers combined. However, the Niners have given up a touchdown or 50-plus yards to a secondary target eight times already this season, including two secondary wideouts last week against the Giants. Doucet gives Skelton an alternative to Fitz and warrants fringe fantasy consideration.

DT Cardinals S3 Any team with Patrick Peterson in the return game should at least be in the mix for a starting fantasy spot.
San Francisco
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Alex Smith B

It's been a while--five weeks, in fact--since Smith was fantasy relevant. But his yardage has been building over the past month and he did go for 276 and 2 in last season's finale against the Cards. It may surprise you to learn that Arizona hasn't allowed a passing TD since Week 7, though, so dim that optimism and keep Smith on the fantasy pine.

RB Frank Gore S2

Gore is nursing ankle and knee injuries and didn't practice Wednesday, but he returned to practice later in the week and is expected to go on Sunday. It's a very favorable matchup, so unless Gore is deactivated prior to kickoff he should be in your fantasy lineup.

RB Kendall Hunter U

Hunter is a tough fantasy start since Gore is expected to play, but given the matchup with an Arizona defense that's allowed 326 RB rushing yards and four TDs over their past three games he's at least in the conversation. Hopefully you own both and can wait until the inactives are announced before making your final lineup decision.

WR Michael Crabtree S3 There's yardage to be had here as only one team has given up more WR yards this season than the Cardinals. Crabtree has been Smith's preferred downfield target, so he's worthy of a fantasy shot this week.
WR Braylon Edwards B The Niners haven't been able to get two wideouts over 50 yards in the same game since Week 4, back when Josh Morgan was still healthy. With Crabtree expected to pace the WRs don't go looking for fantasy help behind him on the depth chart.
TE Vernon Davis S3

Davis is still getting vultured by Delanie Walker, but he's stil the more consistently targeted tight end. Don't expect a repeat of his 3-96 against the Cards in last season's second meeting, but he belongs in TE-mandatory league lineups.

DT 49ers S2 San Fran has held five straight opponents to 20 points or less; factor in the pick six John Skelton threw last week and the threat of Ted Ginn in the return game and the Niners are a solid fantasy play this week.

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